Tech

Ballast for your mouse?

ballast logitech mouse

My venerable MX510 has served me well but after a few years of concentrated (ab)use it was somewhat the worse for wear - the scroll wheel died a few months back, and more and more of the low-friction feet had become detached, making it start to limp like a wounded animal. I finally caved this week and took it out to the barn with a 12-gauge. I thought about getting a wireless mouse this time around, but I concluded that I really can’t be arsed to charge yet another wireless device or keep it stocked with batteries, so I stuck with a traditional wired rodent.

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The Gates Legacy

bill gates Microsoft

I think this is a very interesting and balanced write-up of the life and times of William Henry Gates III. I still can’t believe we gave him an honoury knighthood though. 😕

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Leaping Lately to Leopard

leopard OS X vista

For a geek, I can exhibit luddite tendencies sometimes. I don’t run Vista yet on anything other than secondary test machines, because I really don’t like it very much - I feel it’s burning additional machine resources in a way that adds little or no value to my productivity or user experience compared to XP, and I’ve had several usability / stability hassles with the test machines I’ve had. I also remain very skeptical about the relative importance of Dx10 given that the vast majority of users either don’t have Vista, or don’t have a card worthy of being called Dx10 compliant, even in gamer circles.

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Switching to Firefox 3

Now it’s out of beta, Firefox 3 has become my primary browser - it’s a nice speed upgrade and I like the little extras like the unobtrusive ‘remember password’ prompt, smart location bar and reduced memory usage. It’s a shame their servers went belly-up on the planned release day, but then they did paint a bullseye on their face. There were a few hiccups- I have a few add-ons I generally feel I couldn’t live without and a couple of them didn’t want to work immediately.

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iPhone 3G - now we're talking

3G apple iPhone

I’ve always admired the iPhone purely because of it’s sleek looks and elegant design, but it was encumbered by an excessive price tag, a lack of 3G (which for the price was scandalous), and a ridiculous telco tie-in that meant you could only (officially) use it on O2 here in the UK, which made it even more useless to me since O2 do not operate where I live. However, the new 3G instalment which made its widely anticipated appearance at WWDC 08 is looking much more interesting.

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The utility of spam, and YouTube's velvet ropes

email spam youtube

A couple of random thoughts for a slow Sunday… You know, despite being universally reviled, spam actually has a purpose - and that is to prove that my email is working. My spam defenses are pretty good and sift out the vast majority of junk, but I still get the odd unfiltered mail every day and in a way, it’s comforting. It’s like a little heartbeat telling me that my email is indeed still online, and I will therefore be getting any important mail on time.

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Spreading the word

I feel like I’m becoming something of an advocate for Apple machines these days, which is not something I ever saw coming. I hadn’t even used one until almost 12 months ago, and like many long-time PC users am guilty of having poked fun at them in the past (hur hur, one mouse button, hur hur, poor game support) but now that I’ve had one for a while, I’ve changed my tune.

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My ADSL speed creeps upward, almost at 2005 levels now

I’ve often bitched about my connection to the intertubes being pretty slow compared to what is generally expected in the current times. As average download speeds have increased, I’ve found myself going to sites that assume faster download speeds than I have, and thus having to pause & come back to videos when they’ve buffered more to avoid an irritating stop-start experience (note to flash players that only allow buffering of a little bit of a video - shame on you).

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My God, it's full of <strike>stars</strike>triangles&#8230;

I thought the 8800 was quite a big card. I’ve had a couple of them, and they seemed to get a little stockier each time, such that the term ‘card’ seemed a little disingenuous - ‘brick’ would have been a more accurate term. A beautiful looking brick admittedly, shiny and black and with Lambourghini-esque tailorings, but still more cuboid than you might ideally desire. However, due to the near insatiable demands of a project I’m working on at the moment, the second-generation 8800 GTS that has sat in my main dev machine for all of about 2 months has now been replaced again, this time with a shiny new 9800 GX2.

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iPod, mapped drives &#038; perpetual recovery mode

I don’t use my iPod as much as I used to, owing to the fact that I work from home now so I don’t have my daily walk to / from work in which to listen to it. Updating it for the first time in ages I was presented with a lovely “iTunes has detected an iPod in need of recovery” error message, which I thought was odd. Nevertheless I dutifully followed the instructions and performing the recovery, which is a pretty laborious process involving some waiting, disconnecting, rebooting of the iPod and reconnecting, at which point I got the same error.

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